NFL Mock drafts for 2021 are — at this stage of the process — a total guess and purely for entertainment with so many unknowns. There are going to be underclassmen that will declare and there could be another Joe Burrows who explodes from fringe prospect to clear No. 1. Trades, injuries at the pro level, retirement, and countless other factors will make this iteration a complete travesty in just a short period of time.
The team at Outkick threw caution to the wind; used reverse order based on the odds from FoxBet.com to construct the 2021 Draft Order, did a classic randomizer and snake for who would represent each team and then tried their best to determine position needs as well as player projections for each team.
Draft participants are Ryan Glasspiegel, Bobby Burack, Joe Kinney, and Dallas Jackson.
1. Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (Burack)
Trevor Lawrence is the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck. A franchise-changing talent worth tanking for. The good news, that is exactly what the Jaguars are doing. As for the bad, they won’t be the only ones.
2. Redskins – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (Glasspiegel)
I know that Washington already has Dwayne Haskins, whom they selected with their first round pick in 2019, but if they are indeed picking second overall there is going to be urgency to upgrade at the quarterback position.
3. Bengals – Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon (Jackson)
The Bengals hoped that they grabbed a franchise quarterback with Joe Burrows and now it will be time to protect him with the best thing 2021 appears to have on the offensive line. There are a lot of needs for the Bengals, but build around Burrows should be the plan.
4. Panthers – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State (Kinsey)
The future of the Panthers and Matt Rhule will depend on a quarterback of the future. Lance threw 28 TDs and ZERO interceptions in 2019. I double checked…ZERO INTs.
5. Dolphins – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU (JK)
Chase is coming off a Biletnikoff award in 2019 and figures to be one of the first WRs off the board. Why not keep loading up on offense in a league built around offenses.
6. Giants – DaVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (DJ)
Sterling Shepherd may evolve into the No. 1 receiver everyone hopes he can be but the fact remains not a single Giant had over 60 catches last year and Saquon Barkley was second on the team with 52 receptions. Golden Tate has an out after this year and while Smith was not as splashy as Ruggs or Jeudy, he may have the best hands of that group.
7. Jets – Walker Little, OT, Stanford (RG)
While the Jets selected offensive tackle Mekhi Becton with their first round pick this year, you can never have too much protection for a budding star quarterback like Sam Darnold.
8. Lions – Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State (BB)
The Lions are in for another rough season. The defense should be their focus, again. Detriot took CB Jeff Okudah this year; will take the best DT on the board in 2021.
9. Raiders – Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia (BB)
Derek Carr isn’t the answer for the Raiders. Unless Jon Gruden holds off with hopes of adding Aaron Rodgers in a few years via trade (assuming that’s where it’s going in Green Bay), they’ll draft Carr’s replacement.
10. Dolphins (via Texans) – Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State (RG)
The Buckeyes breed first round defensive back talent — Jeff Okudah and Damon Arentte went in the first round this past year. Expect Wade to follow suit in 2021.
11. Broncos – Patrick Surtain II, DB, Alabama (DJ)
There may be more need at LB, but with Kareem Jackson aging, AJ Bouye off a down year and one year left on his deal at draft time, it will be a need to grab one of the top end corners in the draft to start readying for a decade of Herbert, Newman, and Mahomes.
12. Cardinals – Caleb Farley, DB, Virginia Tech (JK)
PFF calls Farley “the best draft-eligible cornerback ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.” The need is there for the Cardinals and if Farley’s still available at No. 12 they have to get him to play opposite Patrick Peterson.
13. Falcons – Gregory Rousseau, Edge, Miami (FL) (JK)
2021’s Chase Young? If he rises to that level he won’t be around for the Falcons in this spot. He’s going to be one of the best Edge guys out there leaving the Falcons no choice but to snap him up in this spot.
14. Chargers – Alex Leatherwood, OL, Alabama (DJ)
Bryan Baluga will be 33 by the time this draft happens and Trey Pipkins has been uninspiring at best. The Chargers would likely take LB Michah Parsons from Penn State if he is actually still on the board, but the pick for this time is to protect your future quarterback after watching him get beat up all year. Leatherwood will be a two-time All-American at Alabama and that has shown to mean a lot at the next level.
15. Bears – Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State (RG)
The Bears sent a signal about how they feel about the future prospects of Mitchell Trubisky when they brought in Nick Foles this offseason, and it’s hard to envision Foles as the long-term answer. The Bears may be a little stuck in the sense that they won’t be bad enough to land Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields. Purdy could be available for them around the middle of the first round.
16. Browns – Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame (BB)
The Browns already have too much talent at the skill positions. Protecting Baker Mayfield should be priority No. 1 and No. 2. Liam Eichenberg comes with tremendous value at 16 to bolster the offensive line.
17. Titans – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota (BB)
Tennessee can get another year out of riding Derrick Henry like a bulldozer. But RBs don’t last. Pairing Bateman with A.J. Brown gives Ryan Tannehill the requisite weapons to be the team’s focal point.
18. Rams – Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State (RG)
Parsons will be a steal at this point in the draft — the linebacker had 52 solo tackles, 57 assisted tackles, and 5 sacks as a sophomore at Penn State.
19. Vikings – Jevon Holland, S, Oregon (DJ) Teams undervalue safeties in the NFL but the Vikings see the value first hand with Harrison Smith. Smith will be close to 33 by the time the 2021 season starts, Anthony Harris is on a franchise tender, and there isn’t much else on the roster in the secondary. Holland has been sensational at Oregon and would slide right in to help.
20. Bills – Samuel Cosmi, OT, Texas (JK)
The Bills need to keep Josh Allen upright. Cosmi has 26 starts heading into the 2020 season and could’ve declared for the 2020 Draft. Experts believe the extra year will push him up the board. The Bills go lineman here.
21. Colts – Ar’Darius Washington, S, TCU (JK)
The Colts declined Malik Hooker’s 5th year option in May. They go safety to beef up the secondary and Washington is expected to be one of the top safeties available.
22. Packers – Seth Williams, WR, Auburn (DJ) T
his spot would ideally be Rashod Bateman and some will say Rondale Moore would be more highly-touted. Heck, Jaylen Waddle may be tempting, too. Williams took a major step forward last season and that figures to continue this year. He is starting to get noticed as a bonafide star and after ignoring the position in the 2020 Draft, there is no change the Packers pass up on one of the names in this blurb.
23. Steelers – Jackson Carman, OT, Clemson (RG) Who knows how much longer Ben Roethlisberger has left, but signing up one of Trevor Lawrence’s protectors to help guide Pittsburgh’s offensive line would be a solid pick at this point in the Draft.
24. Seahawks – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson (BB) I know what they say about taking RBs in the first round, but Etienne is special. He’s a first-day difference-maker. He was built to play with Russell Wilson, whose game is enhanced significantly with a weapon in the backfield.
25. Eagles – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State (BB)
The Eagles drafted Wentz a weapon this year with Jalen Reagor. It was a bad pick and not enough. Philadelphia will still be searching for WRs come year-end. The Ohio State WR has All-Pro potential.
26. Patriots – Caden Sterns, DB, Texas (RG)
While it’s unclear if the Patriots have their longterm successor to Tom Brady in the form of either Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham, Bill Belichick would have a cornerstone in his secondary for years with this safety out of Texas.
27. Cowboys – Carlos Basham, DE, Wake Forest (DJ)
After watching Tyrone Crawford, Aldon Smith, and Dorance Armstrong provide hardly anything across from DeMarcus Lawrence it will be painfully obvious that the defensive line is where the Cowboys have to go. Besham checks in at 6-foot-5, 275-pounds and can both rush the passer and disrupt the running game. This is an instant starter. 2
28. Buccaneers – Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama (JK)
The Buccaneers have their firepower on offense and at draft time they’ll have Tom Brady under contract for another year. It’s time to beef up the line and Barmore is one of those names that people will know about by 2021. He played in 12 games for the Tide in 2019 as a redshirt freshman.
29. Saints – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue (JK)
Pretty shocked Moore’s still left this late in the first round. Electric. Yes, he’s small at 5-9, 180, but he can return kicks, break tackles and was an all-American before a hamstring injury in 2019.
30. 49ers – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina (DJ)
Cornerbacks Richard Sherman, K’Waun Williams and Ahkello Witherspoon will all be free agents after this season. Oh, so will safety Jaquiski Tartt. The 49ers are probably a lock for a defensive back here. Elijah Molden from Washington will be tempting in this spot, but the positional flexibility that Horn can bring is impressive. He isn’t as good in man (but it is close) as Molden but has a nose for blitzing, making tackles, and being around the ball.
31. Ravens – Kenny Gainwell, RB, Memphis (RG)
Gainwell is about as great a name as you can have for a running back; having him paired with Lamar Jackson, the Ravens’ rushing game would continue to cause massive problems for opposing defenses.
32. Chiefs – Tyle Shelvin, DL, LSU (BB)
The Chiefs could be coming off back-to-back Super Bowl victories come draft time. The IF will depend on the status of Chris Jones. If Kansas City can’t lock him up long-term, they will need to draft his replacement.